Culture, Local Development, Heritage. These words were the starting point to the discussion that designed the conceptual framework of the De Fenais a Fenais project, financed by Culture Programme of EEA Grants Portugal, agreed between all partners on the first day of the Advisory Board. The meeting brought together all local, national and foreign partners, between march 8th to 14th.
From Norway, Professor Anniken Frøde, from the Arctic University of Tromsø, and The Whale project, represented by its communication director Camilla Ilmoni, were present. From Iceland, from the Stefansson Arctic Institut, it was attended by its director Níels Einarsson and also by Eva Bjork, Director of the Húsavík Whale Museum. Professor José Manuel Henriques, from the DINÂMIA/CET-ISCTE Studies Center, Aura Duarte and Sara Romão, from GEPAC - Office of Cultural Strategy, Planning and Assessment, were also present. At local level, the meeting was attended by the partners of Cooperativa Cresaçor and Associação VidAçor. The Carlos Machado Museum, as promoter of the project, was present through its Director, João Paulo Constância and the executive coordinators of the project, Artur Martins and Valério Moniz.
The intensity to which a meeting of this dimension requires, led the debates, conversations, and presentations to formulate concrete questions. Between the discussion of the main themes to be developed and the methodologies to be applied, visits to the three places covered by the project were also held. The meeting ended with the constitution of five transnational working groups led by the partners. These groups will be responsible for guiding the work in the communities. The groups will focus their actions on the following themes:
- Culture, Gender and Fishing Communities
- Co-creation Methodologies
- The Role of Museums in Promoting Culture and Community Transformation
- Heritage and Art: New Forms of Community Engagement
- Integration, Synthesis and Planning
The presentations, by the Architecture and Design Team, of the projects for the properties to be rehabilitated were one of the highlights of the meeting. Carolina Cordeiro, from the Regional Directorate for Culture, showed how it will be possible to materialize the Center for Knowledge and Safeguarding of Coastal Heritage, in the current Casa do Dízimo, in Fenais da Luz. Architect João Rebelo Costa presented what is expected to happen in order to transform the current building of the Escola da Lombinha da Maia into a Social Incubator for Safeguarding and Gastronomic Innovation, in Maia. On the last day, for the conclusion of the work, the project could count with the presence of the Regional Secretary for Culture, Science and Digital Transition, who is compromised to its implementation, giving her political approval so that the project can be taken over by the Regional Government of the Azores in an inter-sectorial way.
In the farewells, the feeling of mission accomplished was unanimous, a mission that will only be possible to fulfill if cooperation for development is the watchword.